- Written by Duncan
In order to reduce the deficit in government spending, the United States is seeking to tax visitors as they enter and exit. The tax is similar to airport improvement fees, charged in various airports around the world.
Since the mother of all bailout packages that was introduced by the current administration earlier this year, government officials have been seeking ways to pay back the over eight hundred billion dollars in incentives. Combined with additional bailouts for the automotive industry, the government is seeking to find over a trillion dollars.
Rather than inflict this burden of paying back this enormous sum on US citizens, the plan is to look towards visitors to cover the costs. "If we stick it to our own citizens, then we end up with hoardes of unhappy voters, and we all want to get re-elected." said one official who wished to remain anonymous.
Clearly visitors will pay a tax and then go back to their respective contries of origin. Visitors cannot vote or cause any trouble. "If they can afford a plane ticket, they can afford a little tax. It is just like one of those fuel surcharges we got when the cost of fuel went through the roof last year."
According to the US Department of Commerce, there are an average of four million visitors to the US each month. If they pay the proposed tax of $5000.00 both on entry and exit, this will generate a revenue of about $40 Billion each month, and the bailout will be paid for in just over two years.
The American Taxpayers Federation came out in full support of this new initiative. "We thought that uncle Sam was going to stick everyone with a share of the bailout, but this is fabulous! We are all for it."
Some tourist related economies may take a hit if the number of visitors drops off, but this is expected to level off by the fourth quarter 2011. For regular visitors and returning US citizens, a reduced tax is proposed. Likewise any visitors travelling under a diplomatic passport will be exempt from the tax.
Human rights activists complain that the new tax will discriminate against people from poorer countries. Not having the money to pay the tax, they will have to stay home. The US Tourist Board countered that if someone cannot afford the extra tax, they would likely not be spending much money if they did visit the US, and would thus be unwelcome. "We are looking for wealthy visitors, who come with lots of money and they leave it here when they leave." said a spokesman.
Looking forward, there is talk of a second wave of bailout packages. If that happens, the govenment may have to raise the proposed visitor entry and exit tax to $10,000. Let us hope that it is not needed.